Bruce Lee Fights Back

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Posted In: Action Movies, All Movies, Bruce Lee Movies, Jeet Kune Do, Kung Fu Fighting, Kung Fu Movie Reviews, Kung Fu Movies, Martial Arts Movies
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Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave is a very misleading title from legendary grind-house distributor Aquarius. Run by the late Australian-born exploitation genius Terry Levene, Aquarius, renowned for their lowest-of-low budget Martial Arts Movies and Sonny Chiba re-edits, hobbled together this low budget gem with an extremely mild Bruce Lee impersonation for as yet another entry into the sub genre known as Bruceploitation. This was not Aquarius’s first foray into the murky pool of Bruceploitation films, Mr. Levene is also responsible for the film ‘Fist Of Fear, Touch Of Death (1980)’, a mash up of Bruce Lee films spliced and diced into an entirely fictitious documentary.

Aquarius also released the Italian zombie cannibal shocker Zombie Holocaust as ‘Doctor Butcher MD (1980)’ which included a mock surgery performed on the back of a truck racing through the streets of New York City….excellent!
Levene’s poster for ‘Bruce Lee Fights Back’ promises a zombie Bruce Lee in a supernatural smack down with the Black Angel of Death. The credits even feature someone suspiciously Bruce-like leaping out of a polystyrene tomb like he was ready to kick the ass of every malevolent creep unlucky enough to cross his path.

We then cut to a film that has NO Bruce, NO Angel of Death, and is in fact a 3rd rate anesthetized Kung Fu filler starring someone claiming to be Bruce K.L. Lea. “Rip off,” Did you say? You may well feel so, but WAIT a moment, it turns out that this movie is a Bad B Movie Kung Fu classic!

“Bruce” plays Wong Han, a Korean immigrant who comes to LA to visit his dear old friend Go Hok Khan, whom he discovers has committed “suicide” and is now being cremated in the basement. Heartbroken, “Bruce” starts to wander the streets of LA at random, carrying his friend’s bones and a glossy 8×10 of him in a sling around his neck. Through a bizarre chain of coincidences he rescues a girl called Susan from a shirtless rapist who worked for Go Hok Khan, and remembers with photo-like clarity, the five strangers who visited Go Hok Khan right before his death: A black guy, a cowboy, a Mexican and a (insert your favorite member of the village people here). A piss-and-vinegar-filled Bruce decides to slay his way through the rest of the film Kill Bill style.

Bruce Lee Fights Back… is a real schizophrenic mess, filmed in America but dubbed in Hong Kong, with everyone voiced in the same petulant monotone. You can almost feel sorry for the American actors forced to exaggerate every motion, so that picking up the phone becomes a three-act Greek tragedy. The filmmakers break the cardinal Kung Fu Film rule by speeding up a fight in a wrecking yard into a Benny Hill-esque chase spectacular, but best of all is the howling, yelping, whimpering and robot noises in EVERY fight scene.

For years, horror fans thought it was a Kung Fu anti-classic directed by Italian cannibal maestro Umberto Lenzi purely because Levene switched credits with a Euro cop thriller and was too cheap to change the poster. Well, there’s no cannibals, no zombie Bruce Lee, just the sounds of R2D2 having a heart attack and the click clack of Go Hok Khan’s bones in a sack worn by none other than Mr. Bruce K.L. Lea as he chops a path through this funky ass Kung Fu Movie. Enjoy! Thomas DiSanto


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